Home, Purposefully. Part 2

 continued from yesterday, you must read Part 1 before you read this post, Part 2:

My husband’s franchise is flexible and since Nesting Place has grown he’s been able to take advantage of the flexibility. He works one day at our church during the week and then on Sunday so that means that slowly over the past year he’s taken one and then eased into two or three days home with us on the days the boys are home.  And he’s the patient one with the Master’s Degree in Education who used to teach high school so he’s been the one helping them on their homeschool days. Then one homeschool day last month he came in my office, closed the door and said that sometimes he wished he could just homeschool the boys himself without sending them to school.

And I got a huge goofy grin on my face.

Because we are ‘this-close’ to being debt free and because for some reason people like you come here and read these words and don’t mind coming back again the next day, and because we’ve thrown money at our debt like crazy for the past five years, we are able to make a choice that we never thought would be an option.

My husband is homeschooling our boys.  Starting two weeks ago.

This is the first “freedom decision” we’ve made.  Because two years ago, we needed that income too badly to consider him taking any time away from one of his jobs to be the boys teacher.  And even though he has a graduate degree in education, teaching wasn’t where the money was at to be able to pay off our debt.  And even though he’s always been a sought out teacher at any church we’ve attended, he hasn’t really had the time to do anything extra outside of his jobs because he’s been working so hard.

But now we have a choice.

And he’ll be working less at his jobs, but he’s been easing into that for the past year, plus, their school wasn’t free.  So now we don’t have that expense.

Sidenote:  I know some people think it’s insane for people in debt to pay to send their children to a private school.  (Ok, “some people” was totally me–it KILLED me to pay for school when I knew I could send them to public school or homeschool them for so much less money.) Maybe Dave Ramsey would have advised against it.  But we really wanted a certain style of teaching for a couple of our boys, and one, HAD to have a certain type of school. So the option was homeschool or pay for school.  For me to homeschool full-time, I wouldn’t have been able to spend the time growing Nesting Place. For argument’s sake yes, I could have saved $1 to not put them in school, but putting them in school and paying that allowed me to make $7.  (Totally not the right math, not the right percentage, but for argument’s sake you get the idea.)  So for our family we choose to put them in a great school we loved and me build my business that was already showing promising signs of growth.  Because Nesting Place was already making money, putting them in private school wasn’t a huge gamble like it would have been if I was starting a business.  Yep, we’ve learned that kind of thing the hard way.

 my husband & my dad

And I get to keep writing here. And doing something I love, and I’ll actually have real time to spend working instead of doing everything in the cracks.  Why do I always feel like I only work in the cracks?  Oh yeah, because I do.  I do most of my work before 7am.  And then it’s cracks after that.

And the best news, our boys get to have their dad as a teacher!  They are so lucky.

I am so excited for all of us!

So, small side note but remember how I had that sofa in our foyer because we got a new sofa?  Once I knew we were pulling the boys out of school and they’d be doing more reading books at home I figured it was time to trade out the old homework table for a more cozy option. I pulled that coffee table down from the playroom so they could still have a much-needed surface for working and computing and Lego-ing and puzzle-ing.

But knowing they were gonna be home more led to a different purpose for our family room and ultimately an odd change.  We took the kitchen table out of our family room and brought in a secondary sofa.  Is there such a thing as too many sofas?   I hope not.

Anyway, we are all so excited about this new adventure and I couldn’t wait to share it with you.  Thanks for being a part of it.

I’d love to hear about any “freedom decisions” that your family has been able to make or is hoping to make once your debt is paid off.  Share in the comments?


  1. Yay! For having your boys home again! It’s sooo awesome knowing we are giving our families what they NEED. :)

    I love that you call the decisions you’ve been making lately “freedom decisions”. They don’t have to look wise, perfect, or even sane to anyone else….You just make them knowing how freeing they will be!

    I have made a series of freedom decisions over the last year. My life looks a lot different because of it and I’m not even done making them yet. I am on my way to being better for each one! Basically I got my priorities straight, learned when to just say no and not feel bad about it, pulled myself in and made time for the things I thought were most important. Now I am not a slave to all the things I’ve agreed to do and I am free to enjoy home making and SERVING and LOVING people.

  2. SO exciting! Congrats on the big move and doing what’s best for your family, on purpose.

    I love how you didn’t spill the beans until you’re 2 weeks in :)

  3. Yep — we did it, too! I used to be a teacher (in a state near the bottom in terms of pay) and my husband worked for the federal government. His job went online and he was given the opportunity to work at home. Freedom #1: We can live wherever we want. We picked up and moved from the city to way, way, WAY out in the country 3 states away. (Seriously — we are 30 minutes from the closest Wal Mart in any direction!) With him working from home, having no co-workers, and a nice amount of vacation time after 20+ years of service, we moved on to Freedom #2: I quit teaching.

    Why is it super-crazy, you might ask? Because we have no kids! Try explaining to people that you’re a stay-at-home-WIFE. They don’t get it. But we do! We finished our basement and we both have our work spaces down here. We are blessed to spend every day together and have the freedom to take a vacation in the fall or get away for a 3-day weekend. Those things weren’t an option when I was teaching. We haven’t missed that teacher’s salary one bit and the relatively stress-free life we traded for it is worth more than any money I was earning.

    • Amy, kudos to you on your choice to be a stay at home wife. Just because it has become an anomaly in our culture of late (amazing how quickly our cultural consciousness evolves) doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea.

      • I couldn’t agree more!

        • amen & amen! i too am a stay-at-home wife, & i love it! my husband farms, so i get to help him, eat 3 meals a day together [that is, if i get up early enough to eat b-fast w/ him ; ) ], run errands together IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY, & lots of other really cool stuff. it’s amazing how much just my being available is a blessing to my honey, too; i am his helpmate for sure, & that’s exactly what we as wives are called to be in our husbands’ lives…

    • Amy, can we be friends! I am a stay at home wife too! :)

  4. Wow!! Your boys ARE lucky to have Dad teach them!! Especially since they are boys. What a blessed family! :)

  5. What a wonderful transition for your family and for you. My 31 Days series is on Things that Make Life Better. One of those things is you – and this online home you’ve created with purpose. Thank you.

  6. Nester, I so enjoy your blog and appreciate you sharing your life with us :) – thanks! My husband and I are excited that our land recently sold. The land was a HUGE burden (two mortgages for 7 years isn’t fun!) Now, with this burden lifted we have many freedom decisions – should we renovate, move to a new home, move to the country, add on to our current abode, etc. The sale of the land not only relieves our budget, but takes a huge strain off us emotionally – having options is freedom! We also have the freedom to wait and pray and see where the Lord guides us. It’s an exciting time for us.

  7. How exciting!!! Congratulations to the Nester family.

  8. I love this. Proof that you can have the life you want. I hear so many people share that their financial situation keeps them from living the life they want, yet they continue to throw money away on meaningless things. To buckle down with some financial discipline, you can have what is best for your family! What a great testimony your family has of taking what life throws at you and making the best of it. Truly inspiring!

  9. I just love your blog. Thanks for how you share you life and let us peak in the windows (that sounds stalkery but think more like Jennifer Aniston Christmas urchins on SNL – ). I’m always so impressed with your willingness to adapt to changes and even open to slowly evolving your home. I’m such a creature of habit; it’s comforting and secure. You live like your security is not in routine, or material things, but where all our security should be: in God. Paying off debt is such an accomplishment! I’m so happy for you all!

  10. I commend you with my whole heart. Bravo for living YOUR life and making awesome choices for your family. You are so inspiring!

  11. Your story is really amazing, and SO encouraging.

    Thank you for sharing it and inspiring some of us.

  12. I was definitely one of those people wondering about the private school while you were trying to pay down debt, but not in a judgemental “you’re nuts!” kind of way, more in a fascinated “How does she do it?” kind of way. I realize your specific finances are absolutely your business, but every time I read a post like yours, I always wonder, “HOW MUCH are they saving? HW MUCH is their weekly grocery bill? Their rent/mortgage? Their whatever…” Just because it always seems like we’re living paycheck to paycheck, and I can’t seem to “see” where the cutbacks and savings are. Anyway, good for you! I love to read a good success story!

  13. This is a wonderful post. Someone once told me that the cost of sending her children to parochial school was part of their family’s tithe. On the flip side, one of our parochial teachers (who makes less money than a public school teacher) said that her teaching for less was part of her tithe.

    How special for the boys to be taught by their father.

  14. Congratulations! We just got debt free and I am now able to go back to school to finish my degree! :) Yay for freedom decisions!!

  15. Just got in after a day at the Renaissance Festival and I’m so overwhelmed with all of your kind words. I was a nervous wreck posting this–the closer something is to your heart, the harder it is to put it out there. Anyway, it’s a big deal to me to get to share this with you all. Whether you left a comment or not, thanks for reading and being a big part of our story.

  16. How exciting!

    I would love to make the “freedom choice” of pursuing my great career passion (read: something that is only very slightly plausible and would require a lot of time and learning and not making money before only potentially gaining income) and/ or working at a job where the work and the environment are both fulfilling and happy. I don’t think we’re too far away from that day– I can taste it!

  17. Tracy Hall says

    I hardly ever comment, I know, but I have been following your blog for almost 4 years now. I love your open, honest humor. I love seeing glimpses into how you make life beautiful for those you love. And now…I love you even more that I know you homeschool your three boys and that their dad gets to be their teacher! That is so amazing. Oh, and you are Dave Ramsey people, more love!

    Dave Ramsey has helped us, too. I stay at home with the babies, the two oldest of whom I homeschool. And my husband is self-employed so we are dreaming of the day he can be more involved in the homeschooling aspect. :)

  18. Amanda Blevins says

    you encourage me. thank you.

  19. The last 2 days have been my favorite posts. Thanks for sharing your family with us.
    We facilitate Financial Peace and these will definitely be posts I share with our classes in the future. Also love & appreciate how you choose what is best for your family on education! So gracefully written!

  20. Our freedom decision is that we are going into missions. We are closing our business next month, finish raising support, then on to the mission field! Being debt-free is great! And years ago, when I thought it would never happen, I wrote that the reason to be debt-free is to be able to do what God wants you to do. And here we are.

  21. Congratulations! That is a huge accomplishment. It gives me great hope that I can grow my blog to help out with the family finances and get back on the “Dave Ramsey” track. Thank you for sharing!

  22. How exciting for your family!
    Two years ago we felt called for my husband to change careers. He was going from software engineering (paid very well) to marriage and family counselor (didn’t pay so well and would require more school). I was very concerned about him working plus taking on schooling. We’d never see him! We ended up selling our house and moving to another state to live with his mom while he goes to school. We’re living on the proceeds from our house but it is totally worth it to have him around. Plus, I get to still homeschool our 3 boys (7th, 4th, and kinder). It may seem to make no sense but following God out onto the waves doesn’t usually. :)

  23. Hooray for you! Our freedom choice happened eight years ago. I begged and begged and argued with my husband to pay off our debt. He finally agreed just to stop the arguing! : ) A few months after we paid it ALL off, I found out I was pregnant with our first child. I was able to quit my job and stay-at-home with her because we no longer had any debt! I am now able to be home for her and our twin boys. We both agree that it was the best decision ever!!

  24. This is freakin good. We just started homeschooling our daughters, but here in Hungary where we live it’s absoulutely exceptional. Nobody does that without big big reason. Friends think kids will be isolated and it will do harm to their personality. I think this is insane, but don’t argue with them, just do what I believe is good.
    Our ground floor is 55 square meters, how much is that in square feet? I don’t know, but it’s small. And now it holds not just my kitchen where I make everything from scratch for 5 people, we don’t even buy bread, we make all our own stuff. My husband works from home, so the room is also his office, luckily with no clients. My daughters play the organ, which instrument – not that I don’t love an organ – takes up 4 squaremeters of the tiny room. The digital piano is much smaller. And this room is also for dinig. Plus, two big dogs, who prefer to be in the house, to my surprise.
    I feel very lucky that we’ve made a series of feedom-decisions and we plan on some more.

  25. Keep rockin’ it sister. These freedom decisions are where the pay off comes from all the growing years.

  26. What an awesome freedom for you. I was once a stay at home mom, too. Unfortunately, our circumstances changed, and my husband (also a teacher) is now home with our kids while I work. Praying that soon changes, but for now I know that God is working through us for a greater good. Congrats on paying down your debt, it’s a wonderful feeling when such burden is lifted from your shoulders. :)

  27. Yay! Awesome… And that fam photo is one of those fun ones where your hubby’s hand looks like it should be your hand, but yours is really wrapped around your son. I did a double-take!! Ha!

    Anyhoo, so happy for you ALL!!!

  28. Wow! Love it. You were already real, but this changes you from the old black-and-white sonogram to the so-amazing 3-D (or is it 4-D) kind!

  29. First of all, you should definitely scream, “I ‘m debt free” on Dave Ramsey. He loves what he calls “Mommy” bloggers. You would make a fascinating interview. I would cheer and clap for you.

    Okay on to my freedom choice–Six years ago my husband was in the Army for 9 years. At that time, several doors closed for future career ;paths in the army. He decided to leave the military. We felt that God wanted us to move in a different direction. After six months, of career hunting, he found a position that allowed us to have a stable home life and a career he enjoys. As we were leaving the military and closing on our new home, another military wife told me, “I wish we could leave the military, but we have too much debt to make that leap to the civilian world.” AT the time I hadn’t realized that the fact that we had money in savings and had paid off all of our car and college loans was allowing us the freedom to live and do whatever we wanted. It was ironic as this woman was a lady who I admired for her nicely decorated home with expensive furniture and her stylish clothes. It has been a great blessing to be in the same house /schools/ neighborhood/ medical care for the past six years. This became especially apparent when my fourth child was born with down syndrome and a heart defect. She had two surgeries and is now doing very well.

  30. How awesome! Congrats. I love the term “freedom decision”!

  31. You and your husband make a great team. I think it’s great that you are willing to share your story with getting out of debt. You set a good example for others.

  32. We’re in week 5 of Financial Peace University – yea! – so we don’t have any “Freedom Decisions” yet. But, we do have a utility that my husband shopped around and got bids for…and reduced it from $136 down to $52 a month. Yea!

  33. Yay for a job well done!!! Definately go do your debt free scream!

  34. Yay!!!! We’ve had some of the same private school while paying stuff off conversations… But honestly, especially one of ours really couldn’t go anywhere else… So…. All that to say that you know what’s right for your fam and your house …. I love your blog- it blesses me daily. I’m just thrilled for you!!!! :)

  35. I wish my blog would grow so I can be home with my kids and DO WHAT I REALLY LOVE! So happy for your family!!! MAny BLEsSinGs to you…..~Kim

  36. We sold our house to be totally debt free. I stayed home to raise our 5 kids while my husband was sole bread winner. We’ve lived in five rental houses in that time to save money to buy a home debt free. That was 16 years ago. I’m happy to say we moved in August to our newly rehabbed tiny home and we are loving it, (we are down to two kids at home.) Sometimes out of the blue he says, “Mary, this is our house!” Now that’s real freedom. Congratulations on your success.

  37. Wonderful news! I love that families are freed up these days to do more of what works for them. Your kids will be so blessed to have that time with their dad. I can only imagine that your business will grow as well as your time is freed up. Blessings to all of you and enjoy the fruits of your hard labor to pay off your debt.

  38. So enjoyed reading your story- much is similar in our lives in past- self- employed, homeschooled- worked at getting dept free- Our freedom story is that because we were dept free we were able to close our business and move to Co to be in ministry full time. WE were able to get on the field much sooner because we didn’t have to raise as much support as others with house, car, payments etc. Oh yea another similarity- we spent the money to put our boys in a private school too-

  39. Your writing makes me feel like I’m not alone in this crazy – mommy, work, debt, trying to find balance – life. My freedom would be able to afford to insure my family without losing everything that we’ve worked so hard for and be able to be home with my three littles. My hubby just returned to his self employed job after not working for two years and I work for our insurance. It’s horrible to leave them and miss out on everything for that.

  40. That is SOOOOO awesome!!

  41. This whole story is glorious. I see Sweet Jesus in it and love the Proverbs 31 themes that ring true. I also love the communication between the two of you and how it demonstrates yet another godly marriage. also, I LOVE that this is The Kingdom on the earth as it is in Heaven in a recession! Glory to GOD!

  42. Thank you for sharing your story!! I just love your blog… and I love learning more about what goes on with the people behind their blogs and how they came to where they are {your family is gorgeous btw!!}… and as my blog is new and I’m not really sure where it’s going, it’s helpful. Seems to be a very organic process… and one that can be tricky to balance for us moms.

    Side note- this 31 day challenge to post everyday has been great for me!… it’s stretching me for sure!!! Thanks Nester :)

  43. Good for you! Boys need their dads in a huge way. Dads can give them so much more than moms as they get older, especially in a homeschool setting. And that’s no slight on moms! It’s just different, and good.

  44. Loved this! Your an awesome and courageous woman, thanks for sharing and letting us all do this 31 days with you!

  45. I kind of feel like a bumm now, not having a website. :o) But can I just say, the part1 and part2 nearly brought me to tears this morning. My husband and I are in a similar position (he a teacher, me a stay-at-home mom), 2 little boys, finances looking ugly, but I am an unhappy, stressed, mess. Thank you for the encouragement, and thank you for being so open with complete strangers. I appreciate you.

  46. Do you think now that you are so close to being debt free ya’ll might be buying a house soon? Thanks for sharing your story. It’s been very encouraging.

  47. Oh girl – You KNOW how I feel about hearing you share your story. Debt free living, the boys with your man, and even thinking of your expression as we talked by the pool in HH about all your boys being at home, and seeing that excitement start bubbling to the top.

    Love it, all of it and I won’t even share the financial freedom we feel on a regular basis after knowing the power of taking those steps BEFORE a year of unemployment because…it’s too long. And you know how I am about words. :) But there’s freedom to dream, to create, to prioritize the important things…every day . xoxo

  48. Nester, in light of your freedom decisions and financial choices, would you share how you make decisions about Christmas gifts? Do you go ‘all out’ because you can now, or do you make handmade gifts because they mean more… do your extended families care? I’d love to hear your take on that!

    • We’ve never done huge extended family gift exchanges, & for the past three years we’ve given our boys the choice of gifts under the tree or a family trip so far we’ve done nights at great wolf lodge two years & a hockey game last year, & just a few stocking gifts on Christmas morning.

  49. Glad to hear that you have found a groove in homeschooling that works for you. Have fun not working in the cracks too!!

  50. Congratulations on getting this far and being able to achieve your goals!

    Three and a half years ago I left a profession I had been in for almost 9 years to pursue my career as a full-time artist. It has been a great decision for us, and we live simply, no fancy vacations {stay-cations mainly} and fancy nights out, all the while I get to wake up excited about the day and looking forward to getting to work.


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